Is it a case of anti-Muslim bigotry or a principled stand against creeping sharia? Is it insubordination on the part of a rebellious police officer, or is it simply a case of police department management being caught with their heads up their brass?
A Tulsa police captain is suing his department to regain his lost pay and assignment after he was suspended for two weeks and transferred for refusing to attend a “cultural event” at a Tulsa mosque. Captain Paul Fields, a 17-year veteran of the department and a devout Christian, informed his chief that he would not attend the event, billed as a “Law Enforcement Appreciation Day,” to be held in March 2011 at the Islamic Cultural Society of Tulsa.
According to the lawsuit (PDF), in January 2011, Tulsa Deputy Police Chief Alvin Webster announced in a staff meeting that the event was upcoming and solicited volunteers to attend. In February 2011, an email regarding the event was sent to all Tulsa police officers. Attached to the email was a flier from the Islamic Society describing the event and inviting police officers to attend. When neither Captain Fields nor any of his subordinates responded to the invitation, a subsequent email was sent informing Fields that his attendance was no longer voluntary but mandatory, and that officers from each shift under his command were also expected to attend.
Capt. Fields responded with an email of his own, informing his superiors that he believed the order was unlawful as it violated his religious convictions and that he would not be attending. He also said he would not order any of his subordinates who held similar convictions to attend the event.
Efforts were made to persuade Capt. Fields to change his mind, but when he did not he was served with his transfer and suspension for failing to observe Rule 6 of the Tulsa Police Department Rules and Regulations – Duty to Be Truthful and Obedient.
Granted, while Capt. Fields, like any police officer, does indeed have a duty to be truthful and obedient, he should not have a duty to serve as a prop in the service of Muslim religious proselytizing and the advancement of Muslim political aims.